“Making Out” #4: Ben’s in Love

Making Out is one of the lesser-known YA series. Well, I can’t really say how well-know it was as I didn’t have many friends (particularly female friends) when I was in my ‘tween and teen years. Actually, that’s still true today, but I know the Making Out series was not as monumental as Sweet Valley High and The Baby Sitters Club. First of all, there was no Making Out movie, board game or television series or collection of fashion dolls (that I’m aware of). Second, I’ve yet to see anyone blog about this series. But I digress…

For some reason I don’t have books 1-3 in my posession, but we are fortunate in the fact that Ms. Katherine Applegate (any relation to Christina?) gave all these books very obvious, spoiler-y titles.

#1. Zoey Fools Around (with Lucas)

#2. Jake Finds Out (about Zoey fooling around with Lucas)

#3. Nina Won’t Tell (about being molested by her Uncle Mark)

So now you’re all caught up, yes?

First, the cover:


Which actually pretty much explains what I’ve just recapped. Have to remember that for next time.

Look at Ben and Nina! Aren’t they cute? Actually, I kind of imagined them cuter than that, but given the descriptions we get in this series I think they’re depicted fairly accurately… unlike those crazy, inconsistent BSC covers. O course Ben has his sunglasses on because he’s blind. And someone put lipstick on him knowing Ben wouldn’t be able to see it. That’s cruel…

Check out the bit at the bottom… really makes the book seem a bit trashier than it is. This ain’t Knotts Landing, folks.

As for the text…

I’d almost forgotten how Making Out (which I’ll refer to as MO from here on) uses the same annoying diary-entires-in-the-characters’-handwriting effect that Baby Sitters used. So I spent the first few pages struggling to read Zoey, Aisha, Claire and Nina’s descriptions of their boyfriends. This was made even more annoying by the fact that, at the beginning of this book, Claire, Nina and Aisha don’t even really HAVE boyfriends.

Chapter One finally begins, and Aisha has discovered her man, Christopher, mackin’ it with some woman. A WHITE woman. Oh, hell to the nizzo! I want to slap this man Waiting to Exhale-style (yeah, Aisha and Chris are both black). It doesn’t help that Chris totally reminds me of my sister’s means-well-but-can’t-fucking commit ex by the same name. So there’s that.

Next we have Nina reading to Ben, who is (wait for it, wait for it) blind. And I’m legally blind, so I love that. Anyway, Nina has hots for Ben and has asked him to the homecoming dance, and she thinks he probably agreed to go out of pity. See, Ben used to date Nina’s hottie bitch sister, Claire, and Nina thinks she can’t measure up. Or something. But Ben’s like “Yeah, I’ve thought of you ‘that way’. Let’s go to this dance and then make hot, sweaty monkey love… bow chicka wow-wow.” Or something.

Then there’s some shit about Lucas trying to get into Zoey’s pants, and Zoey of course doesn’t put out because she’s a long-suffering, pain-in-the ass prude. Seriously, I want to push her down a flight of stairs, and not just because I haven’t gotten any in I don’t even want to admit how long. I was WAY hornier than at 17 than this bitch is… and it sounds like I had uglier boyfriends to look at.

Oh, Lucas has been voted Homecoming King, and some slut, Louise Kronenberger, has been voted Homecoming Queen (yawn).

Nina ends up having to mention her date with Ben to Claire. Claire is kinda pissed as she struts around in her sexy, sexy silk robe. Did you know that Claire sleeps in the nude? They mention it in earlier books, and I think it’s totally hot… rawr!

Moving forward… Aisha has no date to the dance, Lucas has a run-in with some skinheads he knows from Youth Authority (hmmm, will they show up later:?) and Claire, in an effort to win back Jake, gives him answers to a quiz. Cuz, yeah, Claire and Jake have come about as close to fucking as anyone has in these books… other than Christopher The Man Whore. But Jake doesn’t want anything to do with Claire because she accidentally killed his brother who apparently was a douche, anyway. I hate Jake, by the way.

Aisha and her family eat Cherries Jubilee, which makes me ravenous even in this heat. Nina (who is the most kick-ass character, what with her RHCP poster, fishnets and unlit cigs) expresses anxiety about her upcoming date.

And her I want to say that Benjamin ranks right up there in kick-assness because he has to TYPE his diary entires to I can actually READ them. Thank you, Benjamin, even though it’s really annoying that you constanly joke about being blind to the point where even I find it annoying.

Blah blah blah… ok, here’s an interesting part: Zoey comes out of working at her parents restaurant and happens to run into a drunk Jake. Well, really the only interesting part is that Jake is drunk, because nothing Zoey has to say is interesting. You hardly ever get a drunk in SVH (other than on those few fateful occasions) and alcohol doesn’t even EXIST in the fictional hometown of the BSC. So, thanks for that, KA.

In Chapter Eight everyone goes all Martin Luther King and has a dream. The following morning Zoey is fucking cold because she’s a dumbass who didn’t dress warmly enough for the ferry from Chatham Island to Weymouth. You live in Maine, asshole. Put a fucking windbreaker on.

Then we go into more tales of Benjamin’s Super Blind Man powers (he’s memorized the whole layout of… everything!) and Claire warns him not to break Nina’s heart in a million tiny pieces. So she’s not THAT much of a conniving ho bag these books try to make her out to be.

Chapter Ten brings the really horrible part where Christopher is beaten up by the skinheads because he was talking to Zoey. I mean really beaten up. I can’t even make a joke at that shit, because that happens more than I ever want to think about. At this point I wished I was reading an SVH with its corny, manufactured, resolved-in-one-book racism.

Aisha goes and blames Zoey for the beating, which is mad shitty even though Zoey is a butt-faced prude. She really does mean well. But the girls are able to work their angst out, and it’s all good in the hood.

Zoey didn’t get a good look at the skinheads, but Lucas saw them and, of course, knows them. Yet he doesn’t want to rat them out because he fears they’ll go after… Zoey? Um, dude… who cares? Not like anyone deserves that, but this bitch won’t put out and these guys fucked up Christopher to hell. And I really loved Lucas before this…

And now… the big Homecoming Game! Because there can’t be a Homecoming Dance without a Homecoming Game.

Nina goes with Ben, which reminds me of the time when I went to blind camp and they took us all to a minor league baseball game. HA HA HA! I wish I’d had Nina there with me that day.

Zoey is still pissed about Lucas and The Kronenberger slut, which reminds me of the time my then-boyfriend was cast as Robin Hood (in the play Robin Hood, obvs) and some little snot who I couldn’t stand but my guy had for some reason been attracted to was cast as Maid Marian. Incidentally she sucked.

So, yeah. Jake is all hungover and is playing a shitty game of football. Not that I’d know a shitty game, but losing 27 to 7 at halftime doesn’t sound very good. Jake, being the genius that he is, decides to snort some coke. Very Ike Turner of him.

Jake is jazzed during the announcement of H-Coming King and Queen (he, too, was nominated) and plays a bitchin’ second half! Yay, Jake! All is well!

 Until, oops! The coach from Bangor (how does Weymouth get to play Bangor, anyway?) supsected Jake was high, so the Weymouth coach tells J-Dawg he can either take a drug test right then, in which case he’ll permanently be banned from the team if the test is positive, or Jakie can refuse the test and be suspended for a week. Naturally Jake chooses to refuse the test, because even he’s not that fucking stupid.

But he is pretty bummed, and somehow he ends up going to a party hosted by “The Wrong Crowd”. And guess who’s there? That’s right: Weymouth High’s unapologetic slut, Louise Kronenberger. She and Jake get their drank on, then Louise practically date rapes Jake, which is quite odd to me. Yet as the same time I’m excited because SOMEONE FINALLY FUCKED! Halelujah, the kids on Chatham Island do have urges! OK, I’m a pervert. Never said I wasn’t.

Aisha, Nina, Zoey and Lucas are all out doing Christopher’s paper route as he’s incapaciated when they find Jake passed out cold at the ferry dock. They drag him to Nina’s house, Claire finds him and takes care of him. This gives her leverage to snag him as a date for the Big Dance. Which is kind of conniving, but at least she didn’t ride his shlong while he was basically out cold.

So… finally the HOMECOMING DANCE! I love reading about fictional school dances much more than I ever liked attending them. Maybe because straight girls in books can manage to land themselves hetero guy dates and cute hairdos… two things I was always missing.

Before the dance the whole gang visits Christopher in the hospital. He asks Lucas where he can get a gun… EEP!

Zoey’s with Lucas, Claire’s with jake, Nina’s with Ben and Aisha’s alone… which is obviously acceptable in this circumstance. Lucas and K-Slut have their big King and Queen dance where K-Slut proceeds to rub her titties (or buffers, as these characters insist on calling them) all over Lucas. She also tells of her major sex-o-rama with Jake, and Lucas is all “Why does everyone have to unload their crap on me?” It’s because they know you’re half Portuguese, Lucas, and Porkchops (like myself) love gossip.

Claire breaks up with Jake, because this is somehow part of her master plan. Nina has a little freak-out about the prospect of romantic male contact, but then she and Ben kiss and it’s totally cool… and she doesn’t even hurl! Oh, I love you Nina and Benjamin!

Naturally, this series was not as hip and cool as I thought it was as a kid. I don’t remember thinking Zoey was such a prudish cunt back then. And I wasn’t as annoying by Ben’s Super Blind Man Powers. Although he doesn’t throw himself a little pity-party in this book, which is kind of nice… and normal. Makes me feel like less of a tool. I still hate Jake, and I still don’t think Claire is quite that bitchy. Bitch gotta do what she’s gotta do!

I’m glad Katherine Applegate used actual pop culture references which were hip at that time rather than the corny bullshit used in BSC. Although Nina’s the only one who seems to listen to anything cool… like, what the hell does Lucas listen to? Or Claire? Or “Only Second Base, Please” Zoey? I hope we’ll find out!

Next up, Making Out #5:Claire Gets Caught. And I believe Janet will have a Girlfriends review for us soon. Ciao!

Editor’s Note: Sorry if this came out crap-tacular. I’m still trying to get into the swing of things here


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